Fahrenheit 451 is a 1966 film directed by François Truffaut, in his first colour film as well as his only English-language film. It is based on the novel of the same name by Ray Bradbury.
The film starred Oskar Werner as Montag and Julie Christie, who was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role award for the dual roles of Linda (Mildred) Montag and Clarisse.
Oskar Werner as Guy Montag.
Truffaut kept a detailed diary during the production, and this was later published in both French and English (in Cahiers du Cinema in English). In this diary, he called Fahrenheit 451 his "saddest and most difficult" filmmaking experience, mainly because of intense conflicts between Truffaut and Werner.
The film was Universal Pictures' first European production. Julie Christie was originally just cast as Linda Montag, not both Linda and Clarisse. The part of Clarisse was offered to both Jean Seberg and Jane Fonda. After much thought, Truffaut decided that the characters should not have a villain/hero relationship, but rather be two sides of the same coin, and cast Christie in both roles, although the idea came from the producer, Lewis M. Allen.
In an interview from 1998, Charles Aznavour said he was Truffaut's first choice to play the role eventually given to Werner; Aznavour said Jean-Paul Belmondo was the director's second choice, but the film's producers refused on the grounds that both of them were not familiar enough for the English speaking audience. Paul Newman, Peter O'Toole and Montgomery Clift were also considered for the role of Montag; Terence Stamp was cast, but dropped out when he feared being overshadowed by Christie's dual roles in the film.
Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave and Sterling Hayden were considered for the role of the captain before Cyril Cusack was cast.
The film was shot at Pinewood Studios in England, with the monorail exterior scene taken at the French SAFEGE test track, in Châteauneuf-sur-Loire near Orléans, France (since dismantled). The film featured the Alton housing estate in Roehampton, South London and also Edgcumbe Park in Crowthorne, Berkshire. The final scene of the Book People was filmed in a rare and unexpected snowstorm that occurred on Julie Christie's birthday.
The production work was done in French, as Truffaut spoke virtually no English, but co-wrote the screenplay with Jean-Louis Ricard. Truffaut expressed disappointment with the often stilted and unnatural English-language dialogue. He was much happier with the version that was dubbed into French.
The movie's opening credits are spoken rather than displayed in type, which might be the director's hint of what life would be like in an illiterate culture.
Tony Walton did costumes and production design, while Syd Cain did art direction.
Clarisse survives to the end of the film by escaping a raid on her home and is reunited with Montag when he flees the city. Bradbury was pleased with Truffaut's decision.
Critics at the time felt mixed about the film, but in later years the film would be liked for what it was, a story of one possible future. Time magazine called the film a "weirdly gay little picture that assails with both horror and humor all forms of tyranny over the mind of man"; it "strongly supports the widely held suspicion that [Christie] cannot actually act. Though she plays two women of diametrically divergent dispositions, they seem in her portrayal to differ only in their hairdos." They also noted that the film's "somewhat remote theme challenged [Truffaut's] technical competence more than his heart; the finished film displays the artisan more than the artist."
Bosley Crowther called the film a "pretentious and pedantic production" based on "an idea that called for slashing satire of a sort beyond [Truffaut's] grasp, and with language he couldn't fashion into lively and witty dialogue. The consequence is a dull picture—dully fashioned and dully played—which is rendered all the more sullen by the dazzling color in which it is photographed."
The film was nominated for a 1967 Hugo Award in the "Best Dramatic Presentation" category, along with Fantastic Voyage and 3 episodes of Star Trek. It lost out to the Star Trek episode "The Menagerie".
Martin Scorsese has called the film an "underrated picture" which had influenced his own films.
Leslie Halliwell described it as "1984 stuff, a little lacking on plot and rather tentatively directed, but with charming moments".
The film scores 86% on the Rotten Tomatoes tomato-meter.
According to an introduction by Ray Bradbury to a CD of a rerecording of the film score by William Stromberg conducting the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Bradbury had suggested Bernard Herrmann to Truffaut. Bradbury had visited the set of Torn Curtain, meeting both Alfred Hitchcock and Herrmann before Herrmann left the film. When Truffaut contacted Bradbury for a conference about his book, Bradbury recommended Herrmann, as Bradbury knew Truffaut had written a detailed book about Hitchcock.
When Herrmann asked Truffaut why he was chosen over "modern" composers such as the director's friends Pierre Boulez or Karlheinz Stockhausen, the director replied that "They'll give me music of the twentieth century, but you'll give me music of the twenty first!"
Herrmann used a score of only string instruments, harp, xylophone, vibraphone, marimba, and glockenspiel. As with Torn Curtain, Herrmann refused the studio's request to do a title song.
Source : Wikipedia